White or Black doesn’t Matter; If you’re Poor, you’re more likely to be a Victim of Violent Crime

Sunday, January 18, 2015
(AP Photo)

Whether you’re a victim of violent crime depends on the size of your bank balance, not the color of your skin, according to a federal report.


A study (pdf) released by the Justice Department shows that poor and low-income individuals are far more likely than those with higher incomes to be victimized by violent crime. The report, using figures from 2008 to 2012 showed that those living at or below the federal poverty level had a victimization rate of 39.8 per 1,000, while those with high incomes had a rate of only 16.9. Those in poor households also had a higher chance of being involved with violence with a firearm, with a rate of 3.5 per 1,000, compared to a 0.8 rate for those above the federal poverty level.


The pattern was consistent between whites and blacks, with poor members of both races suffering more than their better-off counterparts. The one anomaly was among Hispanic populations. For them, the victimization rate was about the same regardless of income.


Poor people suffered more from all kinds of attackers. According to the report, “persons in poor households had higher rates of stranger (12.3 per 1,000) and non-stranger (24.2 per 1,000) violence compared to persons at all other low-income levels. The rate of intimate partner violence for persons in poor households (8.1 per 1,000) was almost double the rate for low-income persons (4.3 per 1,000) and almost four times the rate for high-income persons (2.1 per 1,000).”


Poor people in urban areas had an only slightly higher rate of violent crimes against them than those in rural areas, 43.9 per thousand in cities, compared to 38.8 in the country.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Household Poverty and Nonfatal Violent Victimization, 2008–2012 (by Erika Harrell,Lynn Langton, Bureau of Justice Statistics statisticians and Marcus Berzofsky, Lance Couzens, and Hope Smiley-McDonald, RTI International) (pdf)

15,890 Americans Victims of Violent Crime Every Day (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

More than 3 Million Violent Crimes in U.S. go Unreported Every Year (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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